Born and raised in the Lansing area, Eric graduated from Grand Ledge High School before enrolling at Lansing Community College and eventually transferring to Michigan State University. There, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources and a Master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Area Management. As part of his Master’s studies, Eric participated in the Peace Corps Master’s International program, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda in 2012 and 2013. His service focused primarily on assisting the indigenous Batwa people with the development of income generating programs. Eric also worked on promoting educational opportunities for Batwa children and coordinating leadership camps for Ugandan youth. His extensive experience working with diverse youth populations also includes conducting nature camps with young children at Lansing’s Fenner Nature Center, providing guidance to teens in foster care at St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ Children’s Home, teaching secondary school students in Ghana, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing, and serving as a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters.